Issue(s): X-Factor #8
Last issue Jean learned that Scott was married but she didn't get a chance to confront him with it. We see that conversation at the beginning of this issue when, after Jean says that at least Bulk and Glow Worm will be dying together, Scott begins to clumsily say that she and he could be together. She cuts him off and reminds him that he's married. She is surprisingly reasonable about it, acknowledging that she was thought to be dead and that she would have wanted Scott to move on with his life. She sees a photo of Madelyne and the baby, and says that she always thought they'd have a girl (named Rachel!). Scott remains unrepentant about leaving Maddie, telling Jean that the woman in the picture should have been her. Jean responds saying that the Scott she knew wouldn't have abandoned his wife and child, and wouldn't have taken advantage of the fact that Jean no longer has telepathy by keeping secrets from her.
It's nice that it's a rational, non-screaming conversation. But Scott does not come across very well in it. Louise Simonson (and even Bob Layton, to a degree) inherited the problem of Scott finding out that his "true" love was alive again after getting married to someone else, but Simonson is embracing the problem here instead of resolving it. She could have had Scott plead special circumstances - he was obviously freaked out after the news of Jean's resurrection and therefore acted poorly - but otherwise made him now feel bad about having left Madelyne and have him actively searching for her. Instead, he's seemingly given up on Maddie and trying to resurrect his relationship with Jean. It doesn't make him look good, and it ignores Chris Claremont's intentions for Scott and Maddie more than anything Layton had done (again, if allowing for a kind of temporary insanity for Scott). But it certainly provides plenty of drama for the series, putting team relations at a low ebb going into to the Mutant Massacre.
Speaking of weird relationships, here's the Beast reacting to Vera's comments to Trish Tilby last issue.
I guess the Beast has always been open about sexuality, going back to the days when in his blue and fuzzy form he used to attract a lot of women. But it seems really arrogant to boast how Vera's fantasies are all about him.
Vera takes it in stride, though.
It's the Beast's over the top laughing that makes the above scene a little hard to take. Generally, though, i really like Silvestri's art. He's good at showing the sort of fratboy camaraderie between the team members. It balances out some of the heavier drama.
X-Factor and friends aren't the only ones watching the footage of the "X-Terminator's" attack on their compound. Freedom Force, at the Pentagon, is watching too, looking for Rusty Collins, who is a fugitive from the law (note that someone in the group has Simonson's "honestly" verbal tic).
Spider-Woman is an enthusiastic member of the group at this point.
Back at X-Factor HQ, the team is contacted by the mayor's office and "invited" to make an appearance investigating a battle between two factions of mutants and a robot.
The group points out another inherent problem with their set-up. The mayor contacted X-Factor, so they can't show up as the X-Terminators. But as X-Factor they don't have the ability to use their powers freely.
After the group debates that, Warren apologizes to Jean for deceiving her about Scott and Madelyne. It's a scene that Scott misinterprets, although we've seen that Warren does have feelings for Jean so he isn't entirely off base. Rusty, meanwhile, heads off to get into his X-Factor uniform that he wore last issue to help with the ruse while fighting off Bulk and Glow Worm. Scott snaps at him for assuming that he'll be allowed to join the team. Rusty takes it a little better than the last time someone snapped at him, but he's still hurt, in part because he enjoyed being part of X-Factor and in part because he has a crush on Jean Grey.
After X-Factor leaves, though, Artie lets Rusty know that someone (Freedom Force) seems to be stalking them, and when Artie and Rusty get no help from Cameron Hodge, Rusty decides to go after X-Factor himself.
As we saw, Freedom Force is actually after Rusty. So it's interesting that they choose to attack X-Factor while they are in the field...
...instead of just entering their compound after they leave, maybe in the hopes of finding Rusty being held prisoner there. Furthermore, it's interesting that their warrant is only about procuring Rusty at this point; apparently no one at the Pentagon has any other concerns about a group of mutant hunters imprisoning and/or brainwashing mutants. Then again, neither did the mayor of New York this issue or the State Department when they contacted X-Factor in X-Factor annual #1.
Just as Freedom Force encounter X-Factor, Spiral senses "a power that I've long been seeking" and withdraws from the fight.
That power is Rachel Summers, and of course the mutant/robot battle in Central Park is from Uncanny X-Men #209. Besides it being that battle that gets X-Factor out of their headquarters, and a reference to "twelve" X-Men in Uncanny (actually i have a minor problem with this; see the Considerations), Spiral is the only character that crosses-over during this non-crossover. X-Factor themselves are waylaid by this very public fight with the rest of Freedom Force and never get to investigate the robot battle.
Scott makes a comment indicating that he knows Mystique, but she doesn't recognize X-Factor in their uniforms. Destiny tries to "see" if she knows them, but finds herself blocked by a blind spot around Jean. The "probabilities break down around her... she is a nexus of probabilities". Without delving into that, or perhaps because Scott realizes that Mystique is close to discovering their secret identities, Scott orders the team to attack with their "force guns" (Jean's telekinesis), despite the fact that Freedom Force is (accurately) claiming to be working on behalf of the government.
Rusty, of course, is free to use his powers, but the membership of Freedom Force includes Pyro, who can control the flames that Rusty generates.
Jean tells him to flee, and he's almost captured in a web by Spider-Woman, but he's rescued by Skids, who we met in issue #7.
She's cute enough that Rusty's crush on Jean is instantly forgotten.
However, X-Factor are stymied by their inability to openly use their powers, and Freedom Force manage to knock them aside and catch up with Rusty and Skids.
We're going to stop here even though we are mid-story, because next issue ties in with the Mutant Massacre and i want to first place Uncanny X-Men #210.
Quality Rating: B+
Chronological Placement Considerations: Issue #8 begins with Scott and Jean trying to clean up the radiation from Bulk and Glow Worm in issue #7, and they are just now talking about the revelation from last issue that Scott is married. However, X-Factor's appearances in Amazing Spider-Man #282 and Marvel Fanfare #32 have to take place before issue #8 since these issues lead to the Mutant Massacre and the damage done to Angel there.
Additionally, issue #8 takes place concurrently with Uncanny X-Men #209. The chronology here is a little muddled too. In UX #208, Nimrod detects "twelve classified as X-Men" in addition to Morlocks and the Hellfire Club. But the event that the mayor calls X-Factor about in X-Factor #8 has two factions of mutants and the robot already fighting. So X-Factor shouldn't have been in the Park already. So did Nimrod miscount, or did Havok, Polaris, Sunfire, Banshee, and a time traveling Bishop all happen to be in Central Park at the moment?
Finally, issue #9 continues directly from issue #8. But issue #9 takes place concurrently with UX #210, with the Magneto scene being a direct parallel, and the Mutant Massacre needing to start in that book before we see it happening in the background here. Unfortunately, UX #210 takes place "hours" after the battle with Nimrod, while there's no such gap in X-Factor #9. Nonetheless, i've placed Uncanny X-Men #210 between this issue and next one.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAngel, Artie Maddicks, Avalanche, Beast, Blob, Cameron Hodge, Cyclops, Destiny, Iceman, Jean Grey, Mystique, Pyro, Rusty Collins, Skids, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Spiral, Trish Tilby, Vera Cantor
Simonson never did adequately explain why Destiny had a blind spot around Jean.
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2014 7:55 PM
Vera disappears after this issue- we never do find out why she and Hank broke up.
Posted by: Michael | February 6, 2014 8:24 PM
There's something else going on in those "fantasies" panels. The Beast is just bantering--it's a little teenager-ish but I don't think he's putting Vera on the spot. But look at where she's looking, and who's looking at her, when she tells Hank that yes, all her fantasies are about him.
Of course, she promptly disappears, leaving us to wonder just what happened when she made a play for Iceman...
Posted by: Walter Lawson | February 6, 2014 8:58 PM
Regarding the nexus around Jean, Simonson seemed to be putting something in nearly every issue suggesting that Jean might really be the Phoenix. The firebird in issue #6, recognizing the Hellfire Club in #9. I thought this was meant to be along those same lines, suggesting that somehow she both was and wasn't the Phoenix. And the fact that she supposedly absorbed all of the Phoenix's memories from the Shi'ar crystal sort of makes that true.
Posted by: fnord12 | February 6, 2014 9:36 PM
But as you'll see later on, in issue 38, Simonson has Jean absorb all the Phoenix's memories AGAIN, which would suggest that the first time it didn't last.
Posted by: Michael | February 7, 2014 7:54 AM
I think Jean's death and time spent in suspended animation in the Phoenix's cocoon where she didn't wake up when she was supposed to (when Phoenix died) may have disrupted her "timeline" making her harder for Destiny to perceive.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 10:38 PM
IIRC, Destiny always seemed to have trouble with seeing the X-men's future clearly. I never liked her as a character.
Posted by: clyde | February 8, 2014 10:41 PM
You wrote: "So X-Factor shouldn't have been in the Park already. So did Nimrod miscount, or did Havok, Polaris, Sunfire, Banshee, and a time traveling Bishop all happen to be in Central Park at the moment?"
It doesn't necessarily have to be Bishop, considering later revelations about Tessa... ;)
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 8, 2014 10:44 PM
X-Factor sees an explosion in the Sheep Meadow here which is probably the one caused by Leland pulling Shaw down from the upper atmosphere with his powers to smash into Nimrod in The Uncanny X-Men #209.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | February 11, 2014 4:30 PM
Seeing X-Factor having to use "Force guns" that are actually Jean's telekinesis makes me wonder... why isn't Scott using the technology from his 60's Eric the Red outfit? Seems like it should be able to channel his eyebeams through a gun/repulsor ray of some sort.
Posted by: Berend | March 13, 2014 11:13 AM
I was actually going to make a comment along the same lines as Jay - we don't know precisely who makes up the X-Men in Nimrod's time, so there are the possibility of more "X-Men" in the park than we realize.
Posted by: Erik Beck | July 1, 2015 1:42 PM
@Fnord If you look at what happened in Fantastic Four #286, you see what the crystal did was only trigger a (Jean's POV) flashback to what happened during X-Men #100-101. The holempathic matrix crystal wasn't supposed to carry a person's memories, but a resonance of their personality(with a 3-D visual). It was never designed to be held by the person it was crafted from, since it was supposed to be a elegy for the dead. What Jean learned from contact with the crystal was her own memories(Classic X-Men #8 has the objective retcon). She could remember what she experienced, but the crystal couldn't give her memories she never had because it wasn't a memory record, but an emotional record to remind the holder of how Jean/Phoenix was when she was alive.
As for Destiny's ongoing problem with perceiving Jean, part of that was like Jay Demetrick said from Jean's time in the cocoon. The protection of the cocoon was obviously more than just a comfy Star Trek medical bed. I'd imagine when the Phoenix slowed down time to interact with Jean, Jean's own timeline was interrupted when she made her deal with the Phoenix. It's likely this is how the cocoon was able to restore her back to health before she died of her injuries. I'd go so far as to hypothesize that for her safety/medical treatment, the cocoon was temporally shielded and she existed outside of time in the cocoon, thus screwing up Destiny's temporal probes after she emerged.
Also, despite being the original Jean Grey, Jean's deal with the Phoenix obviously altered her power signature, either because she was always heir to the Phoenix Force, or because of the healing effects of the cocoon. Telekinetic energy FX were supposed to be only visible for the reader's visual comprehension (which is why X-Factor was able to parlay Jean's TK off as "high-tech" gear). But Cyclops was watching flames interact with what had previously been unseen by anyone since Jean came back and at Jean's maximum effort. While Jean wasn't able to generate a full on cosmic fire Phoenix Effect, I can see tapping into her reserves would make her invisible TK FX take the shape of the Phoenix, hence Scott's freak-out. It's almost a meta moment, since Scott's seeing something only the readers usually do.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 3, 2016 11:33 AM
Regarding Destiny's problem with perceiving Jean- you can't explain it away just by bringing up the cocoon, because in X-Factor 31 Destiny claims she had a similar problem with Maddie.
Posted by: Michael | June 3, 2016 7:41 PM
@Michael: It's possible the problem might be that Destiny tries to focus on one person but ends up with perceiving three at the same time: the Jean Copy now residing within the Phoenix Force within Rachel, Maddie (Jean's clone), and Jean herself.
Posted by: D09 | June 3, 2016 7:55 PM
Good point about X-Factor 31. I just checked it out and Destiny included Baby Cable as well. Since Cable wasn't even created then or involved with the Phoenix directly, the cocoon influence must not account for it either. Destiny said it was "TIME" that was confusing her. By #31, Inferno would have been fairly locked in. If we go by authorial intent, Destiny must be confused by Jean, Madelyne and Nathan Christopher's meeting during Inferno. Nathan would have been the crux of that event and Jean and Madelyne/Jean/Phoenix fragment's simultaneous presence were so destabilizing(what with the Inferno and all), it reverberated backwards in time.
I doubt Rachel was involved in that piece of confusion, if only because Excalibur's involvement seemed to be a last minute inclusion that was so peripheral to the main events that those issues were wrongly(IMO) labeled with as main crossovers instead of getting the Nabisco corner.
Also, I doubt that there's any direct Jean fragments in Rachel's portion of the Phoenix Force. Rachel claimed it without Jean's help and Jean was long dead in her timeline by the time she did(at least I hope she is and not laying at the bottom of Jamacia Bay, never to be awakened). To put it another way, Rachel wouldn't be so lonely for Jean if Jean was present within her Phoenix Force power.
I still like the notion of Jean's cocooned state having warped her personal timeline, but considering how complicated the Phoenix business was and is, I can easily let it pass.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | June 3, 2016 9:40 PM
Nope. Reading more and more issues of this and the core idea is still stupid and doesn't get better
Posted by: Karel | May 13, 2018 10:04 AM
Boy oh boy just wait 'til you get to the Inferno issues.
Posted by: iLegion | May 13, 2018 8:01 PM
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